Sensory Needs: Putting the Pieces Together

Presentor: Dino Mennillo: Occupational Therapy for Children

On the 10th of August I attended a sensory needs training session with a colleague, as we have a few students in our classes who require sensory stimulation and output.

Here are some of the notes taken and areas that I will be implementing in my teaching practice.

What is it, how do we recognise it?

  • Sensory integration therapy, can we offer this in the classroom? Yes. How?
  • Restless students, movement and fidgeting.

Sensory preferences: There are different types of sensory needs in students.

1.  Under sensitive: these are the students who love sand, messy play, seeks lots of movement.

2. Over sensitive: avoids noisy, messy play activities, doesn’t like to be touched.

3. Tactile: Deeper firmer touch is more tolerable, use putty, shaving cream, beans

Parent Involvement:

There was a huge focus on this point and I was pleased to hear it.

  • It is the parent’s job to get the foundations right. Your child’s body learns when they fall, we need to let them fall, play, climb etc. We are seeing too many children who are not being given the opportunity to play, take risks, climb trees etc. So their bodies are not learning movements and developing the core strength, coordination and balance they need. Get your children involved in sports, playing games outdoors, give them time to play and move.

Importance of Play

  • Parent Questions: What time does your child go to sleep at night? Sleep patterns, ask the basic questions. Screen time before bed? Activities before bed? Limit screen time before bed and first thing in the morning.  It is recommended that school age children from Reception to Year 7 get 12 hours of sleep per night. This should be brought up at Parent information evenings.

 Classroom Strategies to Implement:

  • Provide regular movement breaks. Get this happening before they get restless, short spouts of movement. Get up walk to drink taps, do a small lap of the yard, 5 star jumps on the spot. Get them moving, it will help with their concentration and physical need for movement. I have been implementing brain breaks in my class with students and have noticed improvements in focus, concentration levels and quality of work.
  • Bum bags for fidget toys. This strategy allows the sensory need to be fulfilled but does not distract the student from the learning. Keep the sensory toy in the bum bag, if it comes out of the bum bag it gets taken away.

Sensory Diet: The Key to Sensory Success

  • Intensity (when they have the physical activity make sure it is intense so that it last for the period of time to aid focus),
  • Duration (Short breaks for 2-5 minutes),
  • Frequency (Have the breaks every 15-20 minutes). Get the pattern for sensory breaks right.

Key Points

Discussions and Questions at the end:

  • Handwriting and Pencil grip. This can’t change after age of 5 years old. You can try but unlikely to change it. When writing your left hand is the helper, one side of the brain switches off. 2 minutes a day colouring in on a vertical surface will improve handwriting/ pencil grip.
  • Develop typing skills instead. To be typing both sides of the brain need to be working.

Complexity of Writing

Certificate of Attendance Dino Mennillo: Occupational Therapy for Children

This was a useful session and I was able to use some of the information and strategies shared within my current school context.

Effective Lesson Design: Intentional Planning

Week 4, Term 2, 2015. Curriculum Staff Meeting

Category: 1. Know students and how they learn, 3. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning, 5. Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning, 6. Engage in professional learning,

Topic: Effective Lesson Design: Intentional Planning

I presented at staff meeting this evening about a course I’ve been on recently called Effective Teaching in English & Mathematics. The course has been designed by AISSA (Association of Independent Schools of SA) and delivered by Rosemary Kadow and Desiree Gilbert. Some of the references and resources have come from their course guide. The course runs for 3 days and I still have one more day left but thought I should reflect on my experiences so far and what I have shared with my colleagues.

Our school has been focusing on curriculum alignment. We are an IB school so we have been focusing on aligning ACARA with IB, making our planning intentional and clear for all to assist with informing our assessments and reporting.

Here is the Keynote Presentation we used at Staff Meeting:

 

Attached are the handouts provided to staff from the course booklet we received:

Intentional Handouts

Things I take away from this experience:

  1. The reflective tools were useful and I have enjoyed using them with my class and other staff seemed to appreciate more strategies to try out in class. IMG_0447
  2. I spent a considerable amount of time planning out this presentation and working with a colleague of mine to really dig deep. We reflected on why we should plan intentionally and how we can improve teaching practice by starting at the big picture and working backwards by design. Breaking down the objectives and curriculum standards to teachable and intentional lessons. Here is an example of an intentional planner in Mathematics that I made this term. Intentional Planner Maths T2 Money
  3. Success Criteria. Our lessons should hold no secrets. Students should know what we aim to do, how they can achieve success and the purpose behind the task. This is all part of WALT (What Are Learning To), WILF (What I’m Looking For) & TIB (This Is Because). Shirley Clarke introduced the concepts of WALT, WILF & TIB, google her and images for each and you will find an abundance of resources.

I had some good feedback after the session from staff. One staff member (Paul Huebl) blogged about our presentation and noted the following:

  • Learning intentions must be explicitly clear for all students in the room. Intentions must be visible.
  • Learning intentions are not descriptions of an activity. They are directly linked to achievement standards.
  • There should be no secrets in the learning process –> this means success criteria must also be clear and explicit.
  • Success criteria tell kids “You can succeed at this and this is how you do it”. What does it look like to achieve the learning intention?
  • Along with WALT statements (We Are Learning To) and WILF statements (What I’m Looking For) you also need to address TIB (This Is Because) which links WALT and WILF to the students personal contexts.
  • To help with students engaging with WALT and WILF statements, these can be present on task sheets and blank work sheets. That way teachers can easily indicate how students have performed against them.
  • Students should be able to state learning intentions and success criteria. This is easier if displayed as above.
  • Don’t use the term differentiate. Say ‘make it accessible’.

If you wish to read more of Paul Huebl’s blog post please click on this link:

http://mrhuebl.edublogs.org/2015/05/12/deliberate-planning/comment-page-1/#comment-51

I will blog again about my final session and share some more strategies I have used in the classroom.

I hope you found this post helpful.

Thanks, please leave a comment.

Jade

Welcome back to school! Let’s play!

IB: Play-Based Learning in the PYP

PAC: Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th of January 2015

Presenter: Jo Fahey & Workshop Facilitator: Heather O’Hara

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It’s only a couple of weeks until the children come back to school and I’m trying to get my junior primary headset back and what better way to do that than to engage with play-based learning!

For the last three years I’ve been teaching in Year 6 in the MYP, prior to that I was teaching Year 2’s in the PYP and now I’m back! Very excited to be back too. My colleagues in year 6 would often say to me, “You’re such a JP teacher”, usually as I sat on the floor with my students, materials sprawled across the floor. I am generally a visual and hands on learner and I believe this way of learning is natural for myself and many children. This is also known as exploratory learning or play-based learning. Using materials, props, resources to make meaning and sense of our world.

We listened to Jo Fahey about the importance of socio-dramatic play. Research has shown that students are highly engaged and participate in an authentic and mature way whilst role-playing. These play experiences help students to make sense of their world and how it works. It also allows students to take on roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

We then went to our workshop with Heather O’Hara. As part of this course we explored the definition of play:

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We then looked at the image of the child and what was at the core of what we do as educators to meet the needs of children. Why do we teach? What is the purpose behind what we do? What do we as educators do to support and develop the child?

Great read: Your Image of the Child: Where Teaching Begins by Loris Malaguzzi

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We had some interesting discussions about the words inquiry, play and learning. Are these words interchangeable? We couldn’t come to an agreement but it was agreed that playing is inquiry and learning is a product of both.

I loved exploring learning spaces at PAC. We visited the ELC and Reception rooms. In particular I enjoyed looking at this writing space pictured below. It showed intention and purpose, involved sensory elements and tied in students prior knowledge and resources to further develop their understandings. It was an inviting and engaging learning space to assist playing with writing.

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IMG_1822 IMG_1823

I have also been inspired by Reggio classrooms. Something I have been researching and trying to work on in my own learning spaces for the last few years.

Here are some links to my Pinterest boards regarding Reggio and Play-Based Learning:

https://www.pinterest.com/jadevidovich/reggio/

https://www.pinterest.com/jadevidovich/play-based-learning/

These images were in the PAC Early Learning Centre. I particularly liked the grass mat and wooden blocks and tree stumps. Things I have been on the look out for and am acquiring soon 🙂

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We explored this Central Idea:

Respectful and careful consideration of space, materials and relationships infuse all aspects of early childhood instruction.

From here my group came up with these lines of inquiry:

Developing Learning Spaces
Why is it important to change and develop learning spaces?
How can spaces be utilised effectively?
How can spaces be a provocation for learning?

Materials for Engagement & Exploration
How important are materials and resources for learning?
What types of materials engage the learner?
How do we select appropriate materials for learning?
Forming Positive Relationships
What does a positive relationship look like?
Why are positive relationships important to student well-being and their development?
How do we know that we are encouraging positive connections with self, peers, environment and the community/ wider-world?
It was great to listen to and discuss our own beliefs and experiences around these. We also had time to do our own research about each of these areas. Some other groups took us outside to explore how nature and the outdoor spaces around us can be learning spaces that engage students and activate inquiry and play-based learning. Visiting other learning spaces at PAC and this group time was probably the most enjoyable part of the course. I was also able to look at my current planners and think about how to set up my class as a provocation for our first inquiry. This was useful reflective time.
I’m looking forward to setting up my classroom for 2015.
Stay tuned for pictures of playful, intentional and purposeful learning spaces on my blog.
Thanks Heather O’Hara for running the course for the last three days. It has given me time to get my JP headset back and explore ideas for including more play in my learning space.
Lets start 2015!
Action Plan: 
1. Set up my classroom with the ideas I’ve accumulated over the last 3 days. Post pictures on my blog.
2. Share these play-based ideas with my staff and encourage this to be resourced and funded by the school.
3. Keep contact with the group to share our play-based learning strategies. Do this via Twitter, Pinterest and the Wiki.

A Poetry Lesson: My Poem

In class today, Mr Huebl gave the students the following instructions:

Please select your poem and compose a blog post on it. This post will need:

1. A copy of your poem, including author, date of writing and source
2. An explanation of what the poem is about, in your opinion.

Please submit the URL in the ‘my poem’ assignment on Edmodo.

I chose to partake in this lesson and have found a poem and will submit this assignment.

My Poem:

I Love You
by Jean: http://www.teachers.net/gazette/MAY03/poem.html

A child grabs my hand in “ownership.”
“Teacher,” he calls me. “Miss ______.”
I call the roll and, instead of his name,
he answers this, “I love you.”

What do I say while the others laugh?
I’m choked with emotion; words fail me.
I have to do something, I know in my heart,
But the words are so sweet, so lovely.

An “angel” is heckled for loving.
I have to reprove him – I do,
Just to set an example
So the others won’t act up, too.

But the words don’t stop with the laughter,
And the “angel” is not quite through.
When the other kids giggle, “He loves her,”
He stands up and cries, “But I do!”

And my heart sort of pulls at my chest now
As I call the names left on the list.
But my heart is waiting to hear once more
The words that I already miss…”I love you.”

My interpretation of this poem:
The writer is a teacher. The angel is one of her students. The student/ angel is a boy and he says he loves his teacher during roll call. Obviously this teacher has made an impact on this child. I have made the assumption that this is a young boy, a child in primary school. The other children laugh at him, obviously not many students announce their love for their teachers. This makes me wonder how old the children are, and if the boy is different in some way? Is this boy craving love from his teacher because he doesn’t get love at home? Or is this boy in a family who openly expresses their feelings and love for one another, that this appears to be a normal behaviour?
Is this boy different from his peers? Yes. How and why? We do not know.
The teacher appreciated this boy and his kind words but fears that his actions and words will isolate him. Yet she craves the words all the same. Teachers can love their students and students can love their teachers, but it is not something that is usually expressed for fear of judgement, limitations of standards of professionalism, keeping safe distances and boundaries within the classroom, defining an appropriate teacher/ student relationship etc etc.

A lovely poem all the same.
An experience I can relate to.

End of Term Confidence Builders

Towards the end of a term I find that many students are feeling a little run down and tired (as are the teachers!). The result of this tends to be students who are a little less tolerant of others. Small things that usually wouldn’t bother them before now really irritate them. So towards the end of the term I like to do a confidence building activity to boost the confidence of students and assists in developing an awareness of how they are interacting with each other.

Lesson Overview

Students brainstorm as a class as many Confidence Builders or (Boosters) and Confidence Busters we can. This comes from the You Can Do It Program (http://www.youcandoiteducation.com.au/)

Here is an example of the brainstorm the Year 6’s did today:

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Students were then given this template and asked to write a Confidence Booster on everybody else’s page in their class.

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The Confidence Booster needed to be specific, genuine and considerate. We discussed what each of these meant before allowing students to start the task.

I posted the following instructions on Edmodo for my students to direct them in the process.

photo 1

Once each child had commented on each other’s pages they could decorate their image and post a reflection on their personal learning blogs.  Some lovely examples:

photo 2

 

The reactions from my students have always been positive ones. Faces light up when they read the comments made by their peers. Each comment is genuine, specific and considerate. It makes a real difference in attitudes towards each other at the end of a busy term. I noticed students being a lot kinder towards one another after this task.

I also think it is important to participate in this task as their teacher and comment on each page. I created a page and had my students give me some feedback too. Gave me what I like to call “Warm Fuzzies” meaning a happy feeling in my heart. I too hope my students experienced this feeling today.

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So if you’re looking for something to do with your class to boost their confidence and build on positive attitiudes and interactions, you might like to give this one a go.

 

Maths Lesson: Properties of 3D Shapes/ Solids

Reflecting on My Practice

As part of my PLP (Personal Learning Plan) I identified the need for me to focus on Mathematics, specifically Maths mental warm ups and Maths lesson starters.

I did a warm up for a lesson today which I thought was quite good and I thought I would share and document it.

The lesson outline:

This was the note I sent my students on the online learning platform Edmodo: (If you want to learn more about Edmodo go to this link: https://www.edmodo.com/about)

Warm up Activity: Revisiting Properties of Shapes. 
You were given a 3D solid shape in class today. You need to describe the properties of that shape on your iPad (using the apps Explain Everything OR Educreations) and post your video to the padlet attached.
Thanks
PS. Remember to use the vocabulary we learnt in the last lesson. Key words I’m looking for are vertex/vertices, edges, faces, angles.

Below is the link to the Padlet with my student responses:

Properties of 3D Shapes:

http://padlet.com/wall/4bw0zr27be9z

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 4.23.49 pm

The thing I liked about this activity was I was able to quickly collect my students responses and view them later in my own time. I was then able to assess their work whilst the students were off at another lesson. I was able to give them direct specific feedback about the content of their videos and assess if they were capable of listing the properties of a 3D solid shape using learnt vocabulary from the previous lesson.

The students seemed to enjoy the task too as it was recapping what was learnt in the last lesson and applying some of their creative skills to communicate their learning in a different way.

It was a fun Maths Warm up today and I’m glad it went so well.

 

 

MLATS Learning and Teaching Mathematics: Number

MLATS: Mathematics Learning & Teaching for Success

Saturday the 9th of August 8:30am-3:30pm

Presenter: Sarah Ratcliffe

The Rationale for MLATS

The teaching of mathematics is a complex business, and in the busyness of school life, teachers often do not have time to reflect on the teaching and learning cycle, on what is working well and on what could be improved. Additionally, many teachers have expressed a lack of confidence in their own mathematical knowledge, which in turn impacts on their teaching of mathematics.

The interplay between school mathematics and the development of numeracy is complex. MLATS core course offers a broad introduction to the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy, and seeks to help participating teachers identify the mathematical knowledge that students should be learning, and makes explicit the teacher’s role in supporting all students to be successful.

Our broad range of other workshops and short courses are designed to meet the needs and interests of teachers.

For information about MLATS and courses available please see the link attached. http://mlats.com.au/

We need to report to the achievement standards in ACARA and be mindful of IB curriculum too.

Sort and classify activities (newspapers, houses, categorise and sort houses by number/ patterns, relationships)

When/ How do we give our students the opportunity to:

  • Identify and describe attributes
  • Identify and describe relationships
  • Think logically to classify and order
  • Handle data

 Thought: Being confused means that you are learning.

 Being Successful means:

50% confidence

25% attitude

25% IQ

(I shared this with my students and they were so surprised and relieved!) This was one of my highlights.

I don’t need the answer I want the process.

Students need to construct meaning for themselves.

Students need the factual and procedural knowledge but they also need to know when to apply these in everyday problem solving tasks.

EMU: Extending Mathematical Understanding Intervention program. Something worth looking into at St Andrew’s School. http://www.ais.sa.edu.au/__files/f/133092/Extending

I am concerned with students whom I have worked with who have difficulty with number concepts and Sarah (Course leader) suggested that they might have dyscalculia. I had not heard of this term so did some brief research about it. Here is what I found.

What is dyscalculia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia

http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/what-is-dyscalculia

http://www.dyscalculia.org/math-ld-books

Formative assessment: A discussion about how we assess mathematics formally came up in this session. We have one summative Maths assessment per term and base some of our results on testing and general maths tasks in bookwork, on iPads and through observations. I liked the idea of introducing Maths Journals, which is something we can do quite easily using the iPad in the 1:1 program currently running in Year 6.

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Ideas for the Journal:

Prompt reflections in Mathematics. (Links to IB: Reflective & Thinkers).

I challenged myself by…

Next, I want to…

I worked…. Because…

Next time I will

An activity I thought would be great for our buddy class visits:

Write a procedure on how to draw a graph. If you had to explain how to draw a graph to Year 1 students what would you tell them?

Mathematics Inquiry Cycle:

Provocation and reflect

Investigation and reflect

Share ideas and reflect

Test, draw conclusions and reflect.

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MLATS rules for working:

  • Choose to work alone, in a group or with a partner but everyone must do their own recording
  • You can choose to use concrete materials or work without them
  • You must seek to understand what you are doing
  • If you need help, follow the procedures to get it.

What do we mean by numeracy and mathematics?

Numeracy is the practical use of mathematics in context.

Developing Number Sense:

Counting

Estimation

Subitising (the ability to know how many are in a collection without counting)

Place Value

Part-Whole Relationships

Four Operations

How can we develop estimation skills?

Handful Grab Game. Estimate and counting games. Refer to MLATS booklet.

Mental Computation: Do this every so often but make sure to go through the processes afterwards. This is important for developing quick thinking strategies as well as going over different strategies each student has used and trying them in the next mental computation quiz.

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I found this image about Adult usage quite interesting but not shocking. We as adults use calculators, estimation and mental computation strategies before written strategies. Yet we are getting our students to record and write their Mathematical thinking in their books all of the time. We need to create a balance here and make sure that we are giving students the opportunity to estimate, use calculators and solve mental problems.

My goals after this workshop:

I always like to set myself a few goals after a workshop and at least attempt one or two of them within that week.

1. Year level Maths Survey and Data Collection task. How are our students feeling about Mathematics? How do they prefer to learn? Ability Ranking data.

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2. Maths Journals/ Reflections after the lesson. This won’t simply be a separate book but at the end of the lesson allow for reflection in their maths book or on their iPad.

 

3. Mental warm up strategies as per my PLP Goal (See Heather for demonstration lesson asap). Go through the mental guides in the MLATS booklet.

Resources:

The Van de Walle Professional Mathematics Series.

Two of Everything. (JP Book)

Open Ended Maths Activities: Using good questions to enhance learning in Mathematics. 2nd Edition. Peter Sullivan and Pat Liburn.

Ontario

About Teaching Mathematics: Marilyn Burns

Origo: Thinking Caps

www.origoeducation.com

Maths Solutions: http://mathsolutions.com/about-us/marilyn-burns/

All Hands on Deck

Number Pieces Basic app.

 

The Child as a Learner (Staff Meeting Week 4 Term 1)

In Staff meeting this week were were asked to reflect on the following questions:

What is my image of the child as a learner?

inquiry

I have always believed that we are born to engage and learn about our world. I feel that there is a natural curiosity instilled in all people. Children are are eager to absorb, inquire and question their world and the information they experience or knowledge which is given to them. They are also banks of knowledge from their own life experiences, ready to share and inspire their family, friends and teachers.

I see the learning child with bright eyes, burning questions, fidgeting fingers, crafting hands, open ears, thought filled voices and inquiring minds.

What are my professional views on how children learn?

There are so many different learning styles. I believe on personalised learning and catering for differentiation. This year my students did an online Myers Briggs Survey which helped them to identify their personality types and learning profiles. This survey identified their strengths, stretches, how they work best, who they work well with, how they can be supported in learning etc. Check out these links for more information:  http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/tt/t-articl/mb-simpl.htm

I believe we need to cater for individual learning styles and allow for creativity and self expression.

What is my image of the teacher?

the teacher

The teacher can take many forms. You may automatically envisage the classroom teacher, at his/her board/desk working with children (as pictured above), but I think that there are many different types of teachers in disguise. For example; the children teach each other in class, parents are a child’s first teachers, we have coaches, counsellors, friends, family members, technology (Google/ YouTube etc), animals & environments etc. We learn from others who are involved in our lives and world, our teachers are everywhere.